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KYIV DISAGREES WITH WASHINGTON ON EFFICIENCY OF COMBATING CD PIRACY. The United States' inclusion of Ukraine on a list of countries that do not effectively combat CD piracy is unfounded, Viktor Lytvynenko of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry's Department for Combating Economic Crime, charged on 8 May, according to Interfax. "Ukraine has adopted all the laws necessary for the protection of intellectual-property rights, and law enforcement bodies are intensively combating the manufacture of pirated media," Lytvynenko said. He said only one plant in Ukraine currently produces CDs, and its production is being carefully monitored by the authorities. Lytvynenko said the fact that U.S.-based software giant Microsoft more than tripled its sales in Ukraine over the past year is a sign of success in the battle against media piracy in the country. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick released a report in early May listing Ukraine as a "Priority Foreign Country," that is, as one "pursuing the most onerous or egregious policies that have the greatest adverse impact on U.S. right holders or products, and are subject to accelerated investigations and possible sanctions," Interfax reported. JM
LEADER OF UKRAINIAN COMMUNISTS HOSPITALIZED. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko has been hospitalized with a heart problem since 24 April, Interfax reported on 8 May, quoting a source in the Communist Party Central Committee. The source denied reports by some Ukrainian media that Symonenko suffered a heart attack. JM
POLAND TO SEND IRAQ TEAM TO WASHINGTON... Following his meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington on 7 and 8 May, Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz told the Sejm's Foreign Affairs Commission on 8 May that his ministry will send a team of senior officials to Washington to stay in touch with the U.S. administration and major company officials in charge of Iraqi reconstruction, PAP reported. Cimoszewicz also revealed that Poland asked the United States and Great Britain for a draft UN Security Council resolution on a mandate for Iraqi stabilization forces and obtained such a draft on 8 May. Cimoszewicz said he believes the resolution will be adopted but added that its adoption is not a precondition of Poland's presence in Iraq. Asked about countries whose forces will be stationed in the Iraqi sector administered by Poland (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 6 May 2003), Cimoszewicz said "many countries have shown interest" but did not elaborate. JM
...AND WILL NOT GRIEVE OVER GERMAN, DANISH REJECTION OF TROOP REQUEST. Following his talks in Copenhagen on 8 May with the German and Danish defense ministers, Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski told Polish media that Germany and Denmark rejected a Polish request that they send their troops to the stabilization sector in Iraq administered by Poland (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 6 May 2003), PAP reported. "The Germans rejected [the Polish offer] because of the lack of a UN resolution [on the stabilization forces in Iraq]; the Danes did so because they have engaged their entire potential in the British sector," Szmajdzinski said. "For reasons that I understand and respect, and Poland understands and respects, this initiative cannot be realized at this stage," Szmajdzinski added. Meanwhile, German government spokesman Bela Anda said on 7 May that German-Polish disagreement over the stabilization forces in Iraq will in no way interfere with Berlin's relations with Warsaw. "Polish-German relations are good," Anda said, adding that they will also remain good after EU enlargement, PAP reported. JM
POLISH FINANCE MINISTER WANTS LOWER CORPORATE TAX, NEW INCOME-TAX THRESHOLD. Finance Minister Grzegorz Kolodko told journalists on 8 May that he will amend his public-finance-reform plan (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 15 April 2003) by proposing to lower the corporate-tax rate to 19 percent from the current 27 percent and to introduce a new, 17 percent personal-income-tax rate in 2004, PAP reported. The top three income brackets would remain at their current tax levels of 19, 30, and 40 percent while the new 17 percent rate will be applied to annual incomes up to 6,600 zlotys ($1,700 dollars). Kolodko said he will also propose a 19 percent tax on capital gains (interest income from savings, dividends, and stock-exchange transactions). His proposals also include the introduction of a flat, 9 percent income tax for farmers. JM